Thursday, March 1, 2012
According to this graph, employment among teenagers, ages 16 to 17, has decreased dramatically over time. Employment among teens is less than half of what it was up until the late 1990s/early 2000s. There are a few different causes. I think the primary reason for the decline is the increase in technology. Now, many jobs that could have been done by a teenager back in the 1950-1980s can be automated, or done in a more efficient way, by fewer employees. Technology always means a decrease in unskilled labor. Another big reason is how immigration has changed. Illegal immigration has dramatically increased over the years, so they often take up many unskilled labor positions that teenagers have traditionally had. They will work for less, and probably do a better job. Honestly, most teenagers suck at their jobs. Also, with minimum wage being so high compared to what it was decades ago, employers are more likely to hire older, more experienced (or at least more mature) employees.